Can Air Purifiers Remove Ultrafine Nanoparticles?

Research shows that some airborne pollutants in a home can be twice the amount outside. To prevent respiratory issues and heart diseases, you need to eliminate these viruses and nanoparticles from your room’s air. Most people have asked if they can integrate air purifiers to keep their rooms free from teaming ultrafine nanoparticles?

You can use air purifiers with inbuilt High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters to remove nanoparticles found in the air. These filters have proven efficient in trapping down microminiature particles but don’t always destroy them. This is because the filters only trap nanoparticles in the air, not on hard surfaces or the skin.

To prevent health hazards such as asthmatic attacks, heart conditions and allergies, you’ll need to use an efficient air purifier. You can find HEPA filters in most quality air purifiers, although some of the best purifiers still don’t have them. This article answers vital questions regarding the efficiency of air purifiers in removing nanoparticles and viruses.

Can Air Purifiers Remove Viruses?

A quality air purifier could help trap germs and keep the air in your house clean. Some air purifiers have proven effective in trapping and eliminating bacteria and viruses. However, they can only eliminate the viruses present in the room at the time

Regardless of air purifiers, it’s crucial that your home receives natural ventilation and that you observe good hygiene. Making less contact with surfaces while outside your home will help to reduce the number of bacteria your skin might trap. This will in turn minimize possible bacteria introduced to your home’s atmosphere.

People have also asked if these air purifiers are effective for bacteria and viruses like Coronavirus (COVID-19). The fact is that air purifiers can filter viruses from the air in your house, including the much-dreaded coronavirus. 

A virus such as the COVID-19 is commonly spread through tiny aerosol atoms when an infected person sneezes, coughs or exhales. These nanoparticles can hang in the atmosphere for an extended period, about an hour or more. Therefore, all conditions being equal, a good purifier should be able to remove most of the virus particles from your home’s air.

That said, air purifiers can only handle particles in the particular room you keep them in. This implies that particles and viruses in other house parts will stay unaffected. Also, air purifiers can’t trap virus particles that stick onto surfaces. 

What Type of Air Purifiers Can Remove Viruses?

Air purifiers that are photocatalytic or carbon air purifiers can also trap and remove nanoparticles and bacteria. When trapped, these particles undergo catabolism through the oxidation and electrostatic effects of the ions produced by these filters. 

Some air purifiers have an ultraviolet (UV) light sterilization mechanism, which is known to be an efficient air purifier feature. However, the bacteria or virus has to be exposed to ultraviolet light for a long time before it can be eliminated. It’s also not possible to determine whether this is how it works for most UV air purifiers

It’ll be more effective if ultraviolet light is used to sterilize a purifier that has caught the virus. However, if the air passes briefly via ultraviolet light, the virus may not stay long enough to be destroyed.

Catechin-based filters could also have antivirus protection, but there aren’t many air purifiers modeled like that. Catechin is a substance obtained from plants that contain antibacterial and antifungal properties.

Other types of air purifiers, including carbon filters, can trap evanescent organic compounds, odors, and other pollutants. They are, however, unable to trap viruses and bacteria.

Remember that the aforementioned sterilizers or filters can only catch airborne viruses that pass through them. They can’t remove viruses trapped on hard surfaces or on a person.

An alternative to incorporating air purifiers is to keep your home naturally ventilated by opening your doors and windows. The goal here is to let air circulate properly and remain refreshed. It would also give your purifier to work effectively.

If, for any reason, you’re unable to expose your home to natural ventilation, then shutting entrances and using air purifiers will suffice. Unfortunately, some environments don’t have healthy natural ventilation either because they’re too polluted or smoky. It’s also difficult to allow natural ventilation when the temperature is too high or too low.

Can Air Purifiers Remove Nanoparticles?

The air you inhale inside your house is charged with pollutants and particulate matter. These particles are divided into three major categories, which are: Coarse particles (pm10), fine particles (pm2.5), and ultrafine nanoparticles (pm0.1). The smallest of them, ultrafine particles, are less than 0.1 microns.

To better explain, they’re tinier than 1/1000 of your hair’s width and so can’t be seen with the naked eye. Although invisible, ultrafine particles have been confirmed as a global health hazard.

Artificial and natural processes cause ultrafine nanoparticles. The interesting part is they are only found under high temperatures. These particles can come from candles, fine sea salt, smoke, fumes, cooking gas/stoves, and soot emitted from factories.

Aerosol and Air Quality (AAQ) research states that “about 90% of our indoor matter comprises these potentially dangerous ultrafine particles”. These particles weren’t even recognized as a potential health hazard until recently.  

Ultrafine nanoparticles are tiny enough to get into your lungs, penetrating the bloodstream through the lung walls. This can cause respiratory inflammation, and people with previous respiratory problems are more at risk. The particles have also been linked to certain heart conditions.

While ultrafine nanoparticles are hard to avoid, you can minimize their presence and resultant health defects. This is why air purifiers should be installed in offices and homes alike. Purifiers are particularly needed in homes, as people tend to spend a lot of time there.

Given how saturated the air is with ultrafine nanoparticles, it helps if air purifiers are integrated into the atmosphere. Even though HEPA filters are recognized as the most effective, they’re incapable of removing ultrafine nanoparticles. They can only reduce airborne particles to about 0.3 microns, whereas ultrafine nanoparticles are as tiny as 0.1 microns.

What Are Hepa Filters? 

HEPA is an abbreviation for High Efficiency Particulate Air. They’re automatic filters programmed to eliminate airborne particles like dust, microorganisms, pet dander, or pollen in a home. HEPA filters enhance the air quality in a room by using high-density filters and a mesh screen to catch airborne particles.

These filters are designed to clear airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns (i.e. 300 nanometres or 0.3 micrometers). They’re available in different sizes, which determines the filter’s capability. Hence, it helps to purchase a HEPA filter that’s capable of purifying the air in your particular room’s size.

Air purifiers with inbuilt HEPA filters can help to enhance the quality of air circulation in a room, unlike purifiers without HEPA filters.

Keeping HEPA filters efficient requires regular cleaning or replacement to function optimally. Clean and replace your filters often, especially during allergy seasons when airborne particles and pollen counts are high. In the absence of these factors, you can clean and replace the filters quarterly.

Do Hepa Filters Remove Nanoparticles?

Studies show that nanoparticles, though smaller than the particle size HEPA filters can trap, could still be trapped by them. In fact, these filters can trap most microminiature particles they come across.

Nanoparticles tend to move haphazardly rather than linearly. This increases their chance of encountering the filter fibers while moving around a room and getting stuck to its surface.

HEPA filters can help trap tiny aerosol particles from sneezes or coughs, which can remain in the air for hours. This makes it possible for air purifiers with HEPA filters can trap nanoparticles and viruses they encounter. These filters, however, may not necessarily destroy the particles or viruses because they can survive on the filter’s surface for several days.

Still, the particles or viruses may die eventually unless the filter is temporarily removed. Removing the filter might discharge the particles or viruses into the atmosphere or onto your body. If the nanoparticles settle on surfaces other than in the air, the air purifier won’t be able to trap them.

These are some reasons why a HEPA filter isn’t a permanent solution for eliminating nanoparticles from a home. Yet, they’re most definitely an excellent move towards achieving that.

Transmittable viruses which cause respiratory issues can be airborne or contained in the droplets of an infected person’s sneeze or cough. HEPA filters can easily trap the virus in such droplets because they’re larger.

HEPA filters reduce allergens and relieve symptoms by eliminating nanoparticles that trigger allergies from the air. This way, they’re able to make inhaled air healthy, especially for people more prone to allergies and diseases.

A study conducted to determine the efficiency of purifiers with HEPA filters showed an impressive enhancement of allergic rhinitis among participants. These filters inside the purifiers greatly lowered the concentration of the major causative elements in allergic rhinitis. By doing this, they significantly improved symptoms among participants.